The Great Baikal Trail Association annually organizes leadership courses for young, energetic, and inquisitive individuals who love travelling, intercultural communication, and Lake Baikal.
This unique opportunity ultimately enables every volunteer to work as a crew leader or interpreter, leading an international team, during our summer trail building projects around Baikal. This is also a chance to visit remote, one-of-a-kind areas around the lake. Our young leaders also become friends with enthusiasts from all over the world, volunteers who were brave enough to travel thousands of miles to see the beauty of Lake Baikal and contribute to the creation of the Great Baikal Trail.
A crew leader is a GBT specialist who has been trained in trail construction and maintenance, and who has shown an ability to manage international teams in an outdoors setting. The crew leader is responsible for setting up the camp, and also directs the daily work that the volunteer crew performs during each two-week project.
The educational courses are offered free of charge, and take place weekly from March to June. Newcomers who complete the course successfully can first join a designated summer project as a crew leader’s assistant, to be mentored by a more experienced specialist. After that he or she can then become an independent crew leader.
What is the role of our interpreters on these GBT projects? An interpreter is the person who is entirely responsible for fostering active communication between all crew members. Please remember that the working languages on the trail are both Russian and English, which is why our GBT interpreters must be proficient in speaking both. Needless to say, this is an obligatory skill for our interpreters, but not the only one. For example, our long-term experience at the GBT has proved that there is no better person than the interpreter to run all of our after-hour leisure activities for the volunteer crew. So, taking into consideration all the specifics of running our GBT projects, and of facilitating interaction amongst the crew, we have designed a special training program for our GBT interpreters.
This learning program is designed by experienced interpreters who have taken part in many GBT projects in the past. During these educational sessions, real volunteer experience from past projects is used as valuable study material. The course lasts two months (over April and May). Sessions take place every week, in a non-formal setting, and potential interpreters receive creative home assignments every week. All the courses are held at our GBT office, and are free of charge. Taking this course is obligatory for any person who wants to join a GBT project as an interpreter.